Avro Manchester Mk.IA: Off to a bad start (ii)

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Introduction: The Avro Manchester is one of Britain’s forgotten types, due to various reasons. To begin with, it had a very short service life, caused by serious reliability and developmental issues that would ultimately lead to its downfall. Despite this, the aircraft proved to have good roots, and it would be modified to become one of Britain’s most famous aircraft.


The full background of the Manchester can be found in my previous suggestion:

Description: As mentioned in my previous suggestion, suffered from extremely poor directional stability, to the point where controlling the prototype was a challenge even for experienced test pilots. To solve this, the initial production run had a fin mounted on top of the rear fuselage above the gun turret, in addition to the twin tails the prototype had. It was decided to modify production aircraft to revert back to the twin tail layout, with a modified horizontal stabiliser to solve the issues which plagues the initial version. This was done by enlarging the horizontal stabilisers. Otherwise, the aircraft were more or less identical. Manchesters would go on to serve in various raids over Europe before being completely phased out by 1943, due to the introduction of much more reliable aircraft. Despite its failings, the Manchester would serve as the basis of the Lancaster, which went on to be one of the most successful British aircraft in history.



Span: 90ft 1in (27.46m)
Length: 68ft 10in (20.98m)
Wing Area: 1,131sq ft (105.07sq m)
All-Up-Weight 45,000lb (20,412kg)
Powerplant: 2x 1,760hp (1,312kW) Rolls-Royce Vulture I
Max Speed/Heigh 265mph (426km/h) at 17,000ft (5,182m)
Armament: 8,000lb (3,629kg) normal bombload,

10,350lb (4,695kg) maximum bombload,

8x 0.303in (7.7mm) machine guns|


Conclusion: The Manchester was the byproduct of an unfortunate series of outdated requirements, ill-fated decisions and unreliable parts, which all contributed to give the aircraft a short and unfortunate stay in service. Despite this, the aircraft was important in British aviation history for two reasons. Firstly, it provided the RAF with a taste of modern aircraft design that would set the foundation of future projects, and inform project managers on decision making and design choices. Secondly, it was used as a basis for the Lancaster bomber, which proved to be one of the most reliable and important aircraft of the RAF in the Second World War. It can therefore be argued that the success of the Lancaster was built upon the failure of the Manchester, and it can thus be concluded that its failure not only made a way for its success, but also informed the designers and planners in both the industry and the RAF on how to design and operate heavy bomber aircraft, thus creating the recipe of success that would lead to the Lancaster.



“British Secret Projects 4: Bombers 1935 to 1950” by Tony Buttler



Avro Manchester

Avro Manchester - Destination's Journey